Gaval (daf) is also the oldest musical instrument of Azerbaijan. Gaval (daf) represents a wooden rim (width: 60-75 mm, diameter-350-450 mm), made of a nut, with the skin of a sturgeon tense on it, made in the special way. In modern conditions the membrane of gaval quite often becomes from plastic to prevent humidifying. From the interior of a rim of gaval on perimeter are attached 60-70 small copper or metal rings which at tool stirring create bright, characteristic for gaval, a ring. Though gaval, in general, is the membrane tool, signs of the idiophone tool are inherent in it also.
Daf player, holding it with both hands, plays it with fingers, applying places also slap reception. Gaval is the obligatory tool for performers of traditional genres of the Azerbaijan music, such as tasnif and mugam. Mugam in Azerbaijan is performed with the trio of sazandah (performers) usually: tar player, kamancha player and daf player. Itself khanande (singer) often simultaneously is a daf player.
Gaval or Daf-is the Persian hit musical instrument of tambourine type. Gaval (Daf) is used as in popular and classical music, concerns group of unilateral percussion instruments. Widespread in such countries as: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Gorno-Badakhshansk autonomous area of Tajikistan and other countries of the Near East.
It is necessary to notice that gaval (daf)-is one of those rare musical instruments which has kept the initial form up to now. On this tool having wide performing possibilities, it is possible to apply a tremolo, trills, mordents and other musical strokes. Gaval necessarily is a part of a trio performing such forms and genres of traditional Azerbaijan music, as rangis, derameds, tasnifs and zarbi-mugams.
Gaval as the leading tool has been entered into structure of an orchestra of national tools by outstanding composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov. He also has written the first orchestral part for the given tool. Now gaval takes the deserved place in structures of ensembles and orchestras of national tools.